As mandated lockdowns and limited physical interaction persist during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are adapting by going digital and generating exponentially more virtual data as a result. To cope with the increased demand for IT expertise, more businesses are outsourcing their IT and cloud responsibilities to third-party or managed service providers (MSPs).
This often results in a co-managed IT structure that combines the business familiarity of in-house teams with the expertise of MSPs. While this model leverages the best of both worlds, a seamless working relationship is crucial for it to succeed.
Why MSP support is beneficial for businesses
The digital overload experienced today puts businesses in difficult manpower positions, especially for IT teams. Either the employees manning the IT helpdesk are overwhelmed, or the business itself does not have enough depth in tech expertise to cope with operating and maintaining increasingly sophisticated technologies, systems and machines.
Besides operational efficiency, this expertise shortage also has critical implications for data protection and security. In 2021, Gartner noted that 71 percent of organisations cited the shortage of data protection expertise as a key factor impacting their ability to deliver and maintain effective data security.
These are where managed service providers (MSPs) can fill in the gaps. With 24/7 support services and in-built automation features, MSPs can take over management of critical systems and applications that need more dedicated support and expertise, enabling internal IT teams to reallocate their time and resources for higher-value tasks.
How to optimise partnerships with Managed Service Providers
Deciding to partner with an MSP is the first step, but businesses still need to take certain measures to ensure that the partnership can yield the best results.
Firstly, establishing clear business objectives is crucial for both parties to stay focused. Businesses must understand and clearly communicate exactly what they intend to achieve by bringing the MSP on as different objectives may require different approaches. Whether it be enhancing customer service or optimising new technologies, once both the business and Managed Service Providers are on the same page, they can better approach and design potential co-managed solutions to achieve this objective.
Next, businesses must conduct a thorough audit of their IT systems to gain important insight on the current state of their IT infrastructure – on their own or through third-party providers. They must also carefully review the track record and compliance of potential MSP partners, as well as have transparent discussions on their IT setup with said MSPs. This ensures that the chosen MSP is familiar and compatible with their existing systems, enabling them to offer solutions that are executable and within compliance parameters.
Once an Managed Service Provider(MSP) is chosen, businesses should clearly outline the roles, process workflows, and communication channels to ensure smooth communication and no overlap of responsibilities. Both parties must agree on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to manage expectations on turnaround times and support levels. They must also decide who will take the lead on which systems, such as whether the MSP will monitor just cloud security or manage the entire cloud and vice versa.
Finally, businesses should agree on success metrics with Managed Service Providers that will accurately reflect the partnership’s effectiveness and use them as a guide to constantly refine and improve performance. Some examples include regular evaluation reports, system audits and cyclical staff interviews.
Choosing the right MSP partner for success
When done right, a co-managed IT system can be invaluable to the business. The MSP partner ensures critical systems are optimised and supported, while internal IT teams can devote their time and energies to more important tasks. Choosing the right MSP partner is important for the co-managed model to succeed.
At Cloud Kinetics, our depth of IT expertise and experience makes us well-placed to be a trusted partner for your business and support IT teams in driving business digital transformation.
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